Why did you start dancing?
My Grandmother was teaching at a ballet school at the time and apparently I showed an interest after watching an end of year performance given by the students.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Mikhail Baryshnikov. I used to watch as many videos of him as I could find.
Which dancer do you most admire?
Baryshnikov again. His technical ability alone would be enough to admire, but his timing and his style really struck a chord with me.
What’s your favourite role?
Cyrano in David Bintley’s production was a fantastic role. Solo’s, pas de deux’s, comedy, tragedy, sword fighting… it had pretty much everything in it and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to perform it at a relatively young age.
What role have you never played but would like to?
The male role in Rhapsody created for Baryshnikov
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Who is your favourite choreographer?
For his ability to surprise me in his pas de deux’s, Kenneth MacMillan
Who is your favourite writer?
Roald Dahl: witty, sharp and thoroughly entertaining.
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
José Carreras. I vividly remember being in Mauritius – my Mother’s side of the family hail from there – sitting in the front seat of my Grandfather’s car listening to José Carreras singing La bohème on cassette. We were in the car because everyone had upgraded to CD’s by then. Whenever I hear Carreras sing I can’t help but smile and think of that time.
What is your favourite book?
The Shadow of the Wind.
What is your favourite film?
The Departed. The cast is great and even though I’ve seen it a number of times, there’s a scene in it that still manages to catch me off guard and surprise me.
Which is your favourite city?
Sydney. It’s home… and it has great beaches ten minutes from the city.
What do you like most about yourself?
My ability to see the big picture.
What do you dislike about yourself?
What was your proudest moment?
Being interviewed on Test Match Special. Speaking with Jonathan Agnew, who I had grown up listening to, about my career in ballet whilst overlooking the cricket ground in Cardiff during an Ashes Test made me really happy and proud of the profession I am pursuing.
That and debuting in the role of Lescaut in Manon on the Bolshoi stage alongside Carlos Acosta and Natalia Osipova.
When and where were you happiest?
I remember celebrating one of my birthdays at home in Sydney with my family on a rare occasion when we were all together. We went and watched Megamind at the cinema and I remember looking down the row and seeing my Grandmother, my Mum and Dad, my two sisters all looking up at the screen and laughing. I was very happy that day.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Being late and missing out.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I have really bad hearing – I qualified for hearing aids but they annoy me so I hardly ever wear them – so that can be a source of frustration. However, it also has provided me and my colleagues with some hilarious moments onstage so maybe I wouldn’t change it! I remember my colleagues enjoying watching my panic as I tried listening out for a triangle situated in the orchestra pit, being played pianissimo, whilst I was standing in the backstage wing of the Opera House stage. I managed to laugh about it afterwards!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To date, being made a Principal with the Royal Ballet is my greatest achievement. It is something I have aspired to all my life and it is a wonderful honour and privilege.
What is your most treasured possession?
A signed photo of Mikhail Baryshnikov performing in Don Quixote with Cynthia Harvey.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably my full cricket kit. I haven’t played a game in about 10 years but I always find a place for it, even in the tiniest of apartments!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
When asked by the hairdressers, after receiving a terrible haircut, whether I’m “happy with that?”
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
What is your most marked characteristic?
As a dancer, possibly my musicality?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
A sense of humour.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Germanicus. My older sister had a great appreciation for Ancient History and she introduced me to this beloved Roman general.
Which living person do you most admire?
Hugh Jackman: he can sing, he can dance, he’s a superhero and apparently a really really nice guy.
What do you most dislike?
Disregard for others.
What talent would you most like to have?
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
A view of the ocean, nowhere to be and great company.
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
My Mother, in an effort to rouse a sulky and teenaged me to higher efforts, once mistakenly advised me that I must ‘Grab the bull by the balls!’
After I had picked myself up from falling over with laughter (a near escape from death perhaps?!) we agreed that whilst grabbing the bull by the horns was the more commonly accepted practice, I would adopt my Mother’s advice and make it my motto. My ballet teacher loved it so much that she gave me my very own mascot, ‘Buck’ the Bull which I have kept with me for all my performances.
Alexander Campbell… a biography
Born in Sydney, he trained at Academy Ballet, Sydney, and The Royal Ballet School. In 2003 he won silver at the Adeline Genée Awards and was a Prix de Lausanne finalist.
He joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2005, and was promoted to first soloist in 2009. At BRB he created roles in Le Baiser de la fée and E=mc². He joined The Royal Ballet in 2011 and was promoted to Principal in 2016. His repertory with the Company includes Colas, Basilio, Magician/Mad Hatter, Lewis Carroll/White Rabbit, Hans-Peter (Nutcracker) and Prince (Nutcracker), Young Man (Two Pigeons), Jack (Sweet Violets), Emble (Age of Anxiety) and roles in Emeralds (Jewels), Voices of Spring, In the Night, Connectome, Ceremony of Innocence and Woolf Works, among others. He created Henry (Frankenstein) and a role in Obsidian Tear.
He has performed as a guest artist with Australian Ballet and BRB.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.